TV personality Jessica Rich from “Real Chance of Love” is a true beauty inside out. Now, the oh so fabulous entrepreneur of the Jessica Rich Collection is expanding her fashion expertise on a larger scale. From Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Hell’s Kitchen in the Big Apple, Rich is serving us the latest trendy fashions, so watch out for her work in all DASH locations and her online store. From mesh jumpsuits to the very fashionable L’amour Jackets, the Jessica Rich Collection has all of the celebrity styles that will blow you away.
Tell us how you got started in this industry and in fashion?
A long time ago I did a reality show called, “Real Chance of Love” on VH1. That was my start in the entertainment industry. There, I tried to showcase who I was but that didn’t really work. Reality TV likes to twist you and turn you and not really show how you are. I’ve always loved fashion and it’s always been big in my life. I didn’t shop designers all the time. I actually put this one look together that wasn’t so expensive. From there, I had my own jewellery line back in 2013. It wasn’t really selling or making me the money I thought it would. It was kind of hard to sell jewellery online. I said, “let me try selling clothing online.” I previously did styling for a lot of celebrities. Instead of giving people other brands, I wanted to give them my own brand.
You’ve styled celebrities. Where were you living while you were styling them?
I’m actually from Michigan, but I lived in New York for a while and then I did that show and moved to L.A. I was doing all of the styling in Los Angeles. I was working PR for a small boutique so I was working with a lot of brands. That’s why I started doing the styling since I was doing PR. I was like the plug, you know? I thought why not give the people that are supporting me my product instead of other designers.
Is your formal education in PR? Communications?
No. Not at all. It’s basically just business. I did two years of business and that’s kind of all I did. Everything I’ve learned from the ground up. It’s all about who you know and your eye for fashion. I really just needed to start designing my own stuff. When I first opened my store, I was doing a lot of buying and selling. I would put things on celebrities and they would be sold at a different store. I was like, “Wait! I need to only put on them stuff from me.” That’s what made me start designing.
What part of Michigan are you from?
I am from Grand Rapids.
What was the tipping point when you decided to leave Grand Rapids?
I had a really rough childhood growing up. A lot of kids would always tease me. It was the worst! I wasn’t the typical black girl that was always ghetto and ratchet and people use to tease me because of how I spoke properly and dressed nicely. I would dress up every day and wear heels. My mom was always dressing us nice. We come from no money, but my mom wanted to make sure that we always presented ourselves the best way. I got bullied a lot. No matter what I do, I try not to stand out. I knew Michigan wouldn’t offer me any big opportunity as far as my life is concerned. My great aunt is Patti LaBelle, so I grew up around her. She loved performing in front of people. So, I needed to use the attention I was getting to be big at something. I moved to New York because I love New York. It’s the best city in the world! I’m an extremist, so if I am going to do something it has to be all or nothing. I moved packed my stuff and moved there. I didn’t know anybody, so I started networking. I was working at different restaurants, hosting at different clubs and I was booked on “106 & Park” with Terrence J. I did music videos and magazines. I didn’t want to be a video girl for the rest of my life, so I did the reality show and that changed everything. So I moved to L.A. to do something different. There was more television and stuff out here.
Where did you live in New York?
I was right in Hell’s Kitchen, on 52nd and 10th.
Your great aunt Patti LaBelle, what does she have to say about all your success?
My dad did all of her managing for tours and stuff. She tells me, “Wow. You’re such a super-driven person like all of us. It’s so crazy how far you’ve come in such a short amount of time.” Sometimes, I get very frustrated because there are so many other companies that are bigger than me. She will tell me, “You can’t give up. You can’t worry about the next person. Just focus on what you’re doing.”
You’re designing in China?! What’s your inspiration for selecting and getting the right materials for your clothes?
My factories are really good at how they make clothes. I literally send them pics of what I like. I will do a rough, immature sketch and send it to them. I’ll explain it all to them. I provide everything through text message. I have never talked to them on the phone or anything, girl. If I say “mesh,” they’ll understand that and find it. I just send them pics and tell them what to change. I’ll send them a sample and they will produce it. Yeah! I’ve never been to China. Here in L.A. I produce some stuff too. I’ll find the material and they will make the pattern and produce it right here in LA.
Technology has really helped you to keep your business going and to communicate.
I literally just send them pics and tell them what to change. They get it. It’s really nuts how technology is improving these days.
How do you overcome fear?
Umm … I’m a fearless person. The only thing I’m really scared of is death. I’ve always been like an all or nothing person. Nothing is too hard. I don’t take “no” for an answer. You must have that attitude! When you know you’re good at something, you have to be confident. If you ever lack confidence, you will never get it. You just have to be sure of your product and stand behind it. Also, have a reason for why you stand behind it.
Very nice. Is there anything else that we haven’t covered that you want to add?
I’m in all Dash locations-New York, LA, Miami and online. That’s a major accomplishment this year. JLO has worn my clothing this year. That’s a major thing. Khloe Kardashian has worn a jacket I made for her called The Lamour Jacket.
How do you get all of these contacts? Do you just go out to events?
You know how if you know one person, you know everyone?! My boyfriend was really close to the Kardashians growing up so that’s how I know them. Anyone that I know that I want, I reach out to them the best way I can. I just go after everyone that I want. I don’t think anyone is too big to not get.